News Czech Republic marks 15 years of NATO membership

12-03-2014 11:38 updated | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Republic on Wednesday marked the 15th anniversary of its membership of NATO. Addressing a conference at Prague Castle, President Miloš Zeman criticized the country's low defence spending, and said the ongoing crisis in Ukraine should speed up the establishment of a joint EU defence force. A special guest at the Prague conference is former NATO Secretary General George Robertson, who led the security alliance during the Czech Republic’s first years as a member. Czech Minister of Defence Martin Stropnický wrote on Wednesday that NATO membership was the main Czech goal after the collapse of communism and was a significant and symbolic sign that the country had been accepted as part of the West. The Czech Republic joined alongside Poland and Hungary at a ceremony in Independence, Missouri.

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Press: Minister wants cancellation of huge Czech Railways trains tender

02-05-2016 06:49 | Ian Willoughby

The minister of transport, Dan Ťok, is set to demand the cancellation of a Czech Railways competition to purchase over CZK 10 billion of new trains, the daily E15 reported. In the minister’s view the tender process has been designed to exclude foreign firms by setting criteria that can be met by only one company, Škoda Transportation. Mr. Ťok is considering making changes in the leadership at Czech Railways in connection with the competition and other matters, E15 said. 

Czechs protesters barred from Macedonia on accusations of vandalism

02-05-2016 06:38 | Ian Willoughby

Two Czech citizens have been expelled from Macedonia after being accused of damaging property during violent anti-government demonstrations in the capital Skopje. The two, aged 24 and 25, have been barred from reentering the country, the Macedonian news agency Zhurnal reported on Sunday. The English-language website The Independent said that the two had been accused of vandalising monuments during the opposition-organised protests. 

ANO nine points ahead of Social Democrats but both slipping, suggests poll

01-05-2016 18:04 | Ian Willoughby

ANO, the second biggest party in the coalition government, would have received 27.5 percent of the vote if elections had been held in April, suggests an opinion poll conducted by the TNS Aisa. This would give Andrej Babiš’s party 72 mandates in the 200 seat Chamber of Deputies. Government leaders the Social Democrats would get 18.5 percent of the vote and 48 seats, the survey suggests. In a poll conducted by TNS Aisa in March ANO had one percent more backing and the Social Democrats enjoyed three percent more support. 

Political gatherings held to mark May Day in Prague

01-05-2016 14:58 | Ian Willoughby

A series of political gatherings took in Prague on Sunday to mark the International Workers’ Day state holiday. Block Against Islam was one of two groups that held protests against migration, while another demonstration was organised in support of refugees. Several political parties, including the Communists, held events in the capital, while a traditional gathering of anarchists also took place. Police said all of the events had passed off calmly. 

Sobotka: Social Democrats aim to avert healthcare crisis with 10-percent pay rise

01-05-2016 12:23 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says his Social Democrats will propose a 10-percent pay rise for doctors and nurses as a means to averting a crisis in the country’s health care services. Mr. Sobotka made the promise in a May Day policy statement that he presented in the Moravian town of Vyškov. A doctors’ union recently said that if the legal limit on overtime was adhered to there would not be enough doctors to serve patients in the Czech hospitals. The prime minister said his party they will also push for a 10-percent salary increase for teachers. 

Gott to conclude cancer treatment with stomach operation

01-05-2016 07:36 | Ian Willoughby

Veteran pop star Karel Gott is due to undergo stomach surgery in the next fortnight that will conclude his treatment for cancer, his spokesperson told the Czech News Agency. The singer, who is 67, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma towards the end of last year. Bild quoted the multi-million selling artist as saying his convalescence was going more slowly than he had expected; he told the German newspaper that he had trouble breathing and would need to think long and hard about returning to performing. 

Temperatures to rise in second week of May

01-05-2016 07:27 | Ian Willoughby

The second and third weeks of May should be the warmest period of the next month in the Czech Republic, with temperatures reaching around 20 degrees Celsius or more, according to a regular four-week forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. Rainfall should be at average or slightly below average levels for May, the forecasters said. 

Likely StB surveillance camera still in place in Prague

01-05-2016 07:23 | Ian Willoughby

A surveillance camera once likely used by the communist-era StB secret police is still in place on a street light in the Prague district of Vinohrady, the reported. The news website said there was no doubt the camera was in place prior to 1989. It is the same type used by the StB to monitor the movement of dissidents and foreign diplomats on the streets of the capital. The camera, located at the junction of the streets Libická and Vinohradská, is non-functioning and is likely to be removed. 

Viktoria Plzeň clinch Czech soccer league title

01-05-2016 07:13 | Ian Willoughby

Viktoria Plzeň have been crowned Czech soccer league champions. The West Bohemians gave themselves an unassailable points lead on second-placed Sparta Prague with three rounds to go thanks to a 2:0 home win over Baník Ostrava on Saturday evening. It is Plzeň’s fourth championship since their first in 2010/2011 and the first time they have lifted the title twice in succession. Saturday’s win was their 16th in a row, which is a new Czech league record. 

Adamec listed in Mitrokhin Archive as KGB informer

30-04-2016 17:39 updated | Ian Willoughby

Czechoslovak Communist leader Ladislav Adamec was a KGB informer, according to the Mitrokhin Archive, a collection of notes by a KGB officer who defected to the UK that is now held at Cambridge University. Under the code name Atos, Adamec, who was prime minister when the Velvet Revolution started in November 1989, figures in a list of KGB informers among the upper echelons of the Communist Party in the then Czechoslovakia, the Czech daily Právo reported on Saturday. 


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